Hearts of Happiness

Valentine's Day is just around the corner, and I've been thinking about it a lot lately (to the groans of my husband!).

Not so much in the vain of romantic or passionate love and the giving and receiving of gifts, but more about what it means to practice life with a compassionate heart.

silver heart in hand charm necklace bracelet jewelryKindness, Beth Hemmila (Hint Jewelry)

Last year I wrote a blog post called Open or Closed Heart? and then followed it up with What's in Your Heart? Of all the learnings that transpired last year, these two writings seem to sum up what I've been exploring most in my life -- opening my heart to let things flow in and out.

I've gotten in touch with the physicality of my emotionally closed heart. For me, it feels like a clenched fist or a mouth shut tight, unwilling to breathe. Through yoga, meditation, and practiced breathing I've noticed this amazing muscle begin to relax every once and awhile and create space -- like a small opening or niche -- in the center of my chest. I thought compassion would start with me being kind to other people, but honestly the magic didn't happen until I felt an immense kindness towards myself, which then spread out into the world like sunshine.

We spend our lives in this gigantic media vacuum being told to love others and to love ourselves. Obviously, we were born with the ability to love without instruction or guidance, but somewhere amidst all the hype and pressure the idea of love seemed to get mixed up in my head. To love is a verb -- an action word as "to look" or "to hear" -- but rarely have I ever come back to center so as to understand love in its truest form. Like a spontaneous smile or a hand reaching out to brush a piece of hair away. It is so natural and utterly present that we don't have to think about it. However, in not intentionally thinking about it and not focusing on its action, love seems to lose some of its power.

Is a smile more powerful left unnoticed or does it create more intensity when you bring it into focus? Calling attention to the little things. Refining the details. Pausing to see the world around me. Noticing the things I take for granted. These are the parts of my life that are bringing the word "to love" to life.

I hope you too are finding new ways to see love in the world and in your heart!

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